The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Forever Wild Family program harnesses the power of family and community to attract new hunters and anglers. For years, state agencies have introduced people to these pursuits, but haven’t documented whether such efforts create lifelong hunters and anglers. Rather than focusing solely on youth (who may not have the support of their families), Wyoming’s goal is to recruit and retain whole families including youth that have parent, mentor or guardian support. A whole-family approach means participants have a built-in support system for their interest in hunting and fishing. A 2013 study from Cornell University reveals that a support system is critical to a new hunter or angler’s decision to continue hunting or fishing. According to the Wildlife Management Institute,the Forever Wild Family program is the best example nationwide of an angler and hunter recruitment and retention program.
Wyoming is one of the only states using data to document its success at creating new anglers and hunters. In fact, 92 percent of first-year program participants bought fishing and/or hunting licenses the following year.
The Forever Wild Family program offers customized outings to those with limited experience. Over the course of a year, families learn to hunt and fish through hands-on, intensive group experiences. The outings are led by WGFD staff and community members who patiently help participants develop their outdoor skills and appreciate that starting learning to hunt and fish is a lifelong process, not something that can be achieved in a single day. In the program’s second year, families are paired with community mentors who offer multiple opportunities in more advanced fishing, hunting and outdoor skills. Families gain the skills necessary to safely and ethically pursue hunting, angling and other forms of outdoor recreation on their own.
Through Forever Wild Families, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department equips youth and adults to become lifetime hunters and anglers. In addition,participants become more engaged with their communities.
Forever Wild Families would like to thank the following program partners:
North Platte Walleyes Unlimited, Sierra Trading Post,Wyoming Wildlife Federation, University of Wyoming Extension, Allwayz Manufacturing,Federal Ammunition, Central Wyoming Community College/Sinks Canyon Center, Wind River Mountain Outfitters, Wind River Outdoor Company, Wind River Troutfitters,Appaloosa Broadcasting, Pioneer Printing, Guns and Gear, LLC, Mule Deer Foundation and PK Lures. Grants have been received from: Wyoming Wildlife-The Foundation: Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition; Wyoming Wildlife Federation; Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Weatherby Foundation.
For additional information, please contact Tasha Sorensen.
phone: (307) 777-4536